If you have attended one of my parent Coffee Talks, or meetings with staff, you no doubt have heard me talk about “balance” for our kids. The holiday break offers us a great opportunity to work on balance. Our students will be out of school, free from homework and upcoming tests. I hope this winter break offers you time to spend with your kids, listening to their thoughts, ideas and stories.
The midpoint of the secondary schools’ academic calendar offers a moment to pause and reflect. For me, it’s also the end of my first six months in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. As I look back over the past six months, I am so pleased to have been welcomed as part of this community. During this time, I have met with hundreds of parents, staff and community members. These meetings have offered me an opportunity to learn from you. Two-way communication is one of my priorities and I have very much appreciated your feedback.
It has been a great first six months with much to celebrate. Our students’ test scores demonstrated we are on the right track with our curriculum and teaching. We opened a brand new school and have made significant progress towards beginning construction at two of our largest Measure D projects -- Stone Valley Middle School and San Ramon Valley High School. We are in the planning phase for eight significant school modernization projects. We have begun our process of reviewing the excellent feedback received through over 12,000 responses to our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) survey. This data, collected in the fall, will inform our budget decisions for the upcoming school year.
Speaking of feedback, I encourage you to take some time before January 13 to complete the Speak Up Survey that is focused on digital learning in our schools. Our District has just begun the process of developing our Technology Plan for the next three years. The results from this survey will inform that plan and guide how we invest in, and use, technology in the coming years.
While all of this work has been wonderful, we have had our challenges with several hateful graffiti incidents in recent months. Powerful themes of tolerance, culture, diversity and common understanding have never been more important as the San Ramon Valley Unified School District comes together to move beyond these ugly outbursts. In past years, we worked to emphasize the importance of equity and inclusion. Today, we recognize there is more work to be done. We have a District Equity Task Force in place to examine our anti-discrimination policies and practices and provide input on how we can improve. More to come in the new year.
The response from our students, staff and parents to these incidents is a great reminder of how fortunate we are to be in a community that cares. I am grateful to work for a Board of Education that is truly invested in the overall well-being of each of our students, with a staff committed to supporting our students and each other, and parents who entrust us with the education of their children.
I wish you the best this holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year!